Today I had a conversation with a lady about the pros and cons of palm oil. The palm oil industry is under fire a lot because of certain parts of the world where the palm trees are planted and in the process the orangutan population is threatened. There is such an outcry about this and there is a misconception that palm oil is actually harmful. I have done a lot of research about this and found that if people were to stop using palm oil the problem would be even greater. There is a huge demand for vegetable oils and palm oil gives the biggest yield per area. If palm oil were to be banned, for instance, then crops like soy beans, canola and sunflowers would be greatly increased and they take up a lot more space, which means that a lot more habitats would be threatened. The lady was surprised at my explanation as she didn’t know all this. She asked what was so bad about palm oil. I explained that palm oil is healthier than most other vegetable oils, and that the problem was that the people who shout the loudest get the most attention.
What does this have to do with spiritual matters?
Let’s think about churches. Which churches or pastors get the most attention? The one’s with TV ministries of course. They are out there in everybody’s face. I’m not saying that there is anything wrong with a TV ministry, and many churches who feature of TV have amazing ministries and lots of people who otherwise wouldn’t have access to a church can join in their services.
What about social media? Now that is a good way to reach lots of people. Unfortunately many people aren’t discerning at all and are very easily influenced by things that they see. If they are confronted often enough with truths which have been slanted ever so slightly, they can be totally misled.
2 Timothy 4:1-5, I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.
Interestingly in this passage it says, “they will heap up for themselves teachers.” People aren’t going to be satisfied with just one person who is preaching. They will have a whole range of preachers to choose from or to move between, choosing who to follow or levitating between doctrines. Social media is the ideal medium to make this possible. Watch a video here and a listen to a podcast there. Making up their own version of the Gospel as they go. This is the problem with everyone who is trying to shout louder than everyone else because they want more likes and comments and they also make money out of advertising on YouTube and other platforms.
We have to be very careful and very discerning when we watch or listen to a teaching. The only way we are going to know what is good and what isn’t is if we are actually in the Word. This might sound radical but every believer should be a scholar of the bible. How else are we going to know what the truth is. I read that in the times before the birth of Jesus there were Rabbis who travelled from town to town and taught people the scriptures in exchange for room and board. People were so eager to discuss the Word that they would even interrupt a wedding feast to sit at the feet of a Rabbi and get some good teaching. Are we serious enough about the Word that we would interrupt our leisure time to study the bible? I hope we are because then we will be safe from the shouting.